Riot Prevention Measures Amidst a Pandemic

By Devansh Dev, BBA, Batch of 2024, NMIMS Kirit P. Mehta School of Law, Mumbai.

The riots that have been taking place across the globe are both a new and an old phenomena. While COVID–19 might be new to mankind, pandemics, epidemics, and aftermath of infectious diseases have always existed. One of the major challenges that are being faced by world leaders is to determine measures to control the spread of the virus, while facing the impossibility of controlling millions of individuals worldwide. Every hierarchy of government is contributing and pondering over ways to curb the spread.

It should not come as a surprise when humans don’t respond well to forced lockdowns. History is filled with examples proclaiming that with imprisonment comes feelings of fear, frustration, or helplessness. These emotions are generally aggravated by the sentiments that the vulnerable are taken advantage of. A study shows that adrenaline and stress hormones like cortisol tend to kick in during an acute stress response (hyperarousal). This is what leads to a fight or flight [1] response that we generally hear of.

Considering the fact that the days are over when humans used to live the life of cavepeople, the 21st century provides more grave issues to which the humans react. Lack of trust in authority, geographic proximity to others in a similar situation, and a shared purpose and intensity are the most prominent ones. This validates the point that riots aren’t generally as mindless as they are projected.

How Riots are Predictable during Lockdown

Starting off with Italy, a never-before-seen containment decree[2] was signed there and the details got leaked before the announcement somehow. The result included thousands of Italians packing their essentials and fleeing from the country, probably carrying the virus with them. Furthermore, the same announcement caused riots to break out in the prisons and multiple prisons fell victim to the same, resulting in loss of lives.[3] The same was observed in various other countries as well.

Unprecedented riots carried on for four days in the West Point Neighbourhood of the Liberian Capital of Monrovia during the Ebola Virus outbreak in 2014-15.[4] During the same time, a government official was escorted out of the zone which caused major unrest amongst the community which led to outrage via violence thus claiming more lives combined with Ebola.

Going back further in time, we can recall the Russian Plague which took over Moscow when the city was quarantined, resulting in many deaths including the murder of the Archbishop in the 18th Century. [5] The cholera pandemic caused no less than 7 riots around the globe in the 1800s [6] just because of the disconnect between the government and the public. Wisconsin saw many protests during the smallpox isolation in the 1900s, [7] while the same was experienced by Mexico during the H1N1 (swine flu) outbreak in 2009. [8] As the examples go on and on, how can we expect that the humans of 2020 would behave any differently than their predecessors?

Recently, riots broke out when a Black person, namely George Floyd, was killed by a white cop on duty in Minneapolis. A similar incident, which can be compared to this was in Philadelphia during late September of 1918, when a huge parade was to be organised to raise money for the war effort. Several doctors urged and opposed the parade in order to prevent casualties due to the pandemic which had then just started from the military bases and spread onto the general public. The same influenza took the lives of almost 100 people on the first day of the parade and after that, the numbers just rose. Similarly, during the recent protests in the US, most of the police officers wore face shields and masks while the protesters didn’t. They were in the form of a huge crowd, breaking all the norms of social distancing, engaging in pushing each other, and stumbling over one another. Over the period of two weeks, the people infected during the riots started to show symptoms and spread the virus to other people as well. The results weren’t as devastating as the 1918 pandemic but were demotivating.

Let’s talk about the red flags raised by President Trump’s behaviour during the pandemic in the US. He refused to wear a mask and showed no urging for social distancing at the press conferences held at the White House. He also urged the red states to reopen as soon as possible, even before it was considered safe. He also supported the armed citizens at Michigan who attacked a statehouse, just because of cash to the records of vagrant laborers. By what method should this be possible?

Transferring the message via Digital Media –

Airtel was in the dock sometime prior to opening installment bank accounts for its customers without their say as such. Using this technological ability, each telephone administrator, regardless of whether it as of now has a banking permit or not, can be asked to open bank accounts for each client. They can distinguish the poor from the normal income per client. Telephone proprietors that have moved across state limits can be organized and cash can be moved to these accounts. Being liberal, allotment of Rs. 2,000 in any case can occur, with a message to impart the assets to their companions without a telephone or with telephones that have not been energized. Supplementing ads during the telecast of the Ramayan serial, WhatsApp and the radio can be used to get the message out to passing migrants.

Money can be rushed to bank mitras (banking journalists) along the vagrant courses, recognized by geotracking the migrants’ telephones. Money can be promptly moved to all Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme laborers, without sitting tight for them to work. Turning up for physical work was planned as a component of self-determination by poor people. Since that determination has been accomplished and since work is absurd during lockdown, essentially moving the give to their bank accounts and twofolding the ex-gratia payments declared for ladies Jan Dhan account holders and pensioners might be the way out.

Each political party should prepare its participants to create volunteers for circulating food parcels and getting the message out on cash moves. Ex-servicemen can be called upon to shape troops and watches to accomplish the work, wearing veils. For that, veils must be secured. Utilizing the elegance time frame offered by the lockdown, we should prepare for the health-related crisis that will emerge. More than 8,000 factories are delivering defensive veils in China. Indian articles of clothing creators need to reorient their creation lines to make veils and defensive suits. Synthetic enterprises should produce the materials expected to make texture for making clinical outfits. Designing products creators should produce ventilators. The government ought to resolve to purchase everything that is made, if standards are met. Abbot is accounted for to have come out with a SARS-CoV-2 infection testing unit that gives an outcome in a short time. Obligatory licenses can be issued and circulated to Indian organizations in each area to mass produce this testing pack in India.

The world’s fourth biggest tele-medication administrator is an Indian organization called Glocal Hospitals, which has tie-ups with a few state governments. Its tele-counselling can benefit anyone through telephone or home PC and during the Covid-19 crisis, the organization has postponed all charges to spare the specialist’s expenses. The government could take care of everything. Glocal has additionally planned a testing community and an ICU ward that utilizes ultraviolet light to accomplish 99.9% sanitization of the office, to forestall clinical work force or individuals seeking tests/treatment from getting the sickness. Shut schools or different spaces can be converted into fixed test places and stopgap ICUs. As a program of financial recuperation, after the wellbeing crisis has passed, a thousand new hospitals each with an ICU, in open private organization can be assembled. Covid-19 won’t be the last pandemic to hit the nation. Regardless, India needs to expand its healthcare foundation.

One thousand courtrooms can be assembled and decided through an enrolled all-India legal help. The new towns under development can be completed. The tele-medication and the distance learning experience of this episode can be influenced to scale up healthcare and instruction.

Where is the cash to be originated from? Huge sums can be raised from abroad: loaning rates are bargain basement. The dollar, as the place of refuge money, is colossally exaggerated. This brings down the cash hazard premium impressively, if the cash is raised at this point. RBI can launch a vivacious Indian security showcase by legitimately buying corporate securities by the ton. The security market can be utilized to distribute capital productively. Cash can be printed, used for huge scope ventures, and development will deliver the produce expected to forestall the demand created from transforming into overabundant demand. India’s prospects are many. What is required is the will to act.

And yet, despite the fact that this wellbeing emergency mirrors our country’s political, social, and community foundation, this plague has no thought for ethical quality. Individuals partying in a pool may live while those fighting police mercilessness may bite the dust. Individuals who diligently adhered to the standards of social distancing may become ill, while the individuals who ridiculed them joyfully toast their companions in a jam-packed bar. There is no equitable rationale here.

There is no equity in who can inhale simply and who can’t inhale by any means.

Endnotes –

[1] William Heckman, ‘How the Fight or Flight Response Works’ (The American Institute of Stress) <> accessed 29 June 2020.

[2] Barbie Latza Nadeau, ‘Italy Locks Down 16 Million People in Milan and Venice To Contain Coronavirus COVID-19’ (Daily Beast, 8 March 2020) <> accessed 29 June 2020.

[3] Ylenia Gostoli, ‘Six Inmates Die as Prison Riots over Coronavirus Rules Grip Italy | News | Al Jazeera’ (Al Jazeera, 9 March 2020) <> accessed 29 June 2020.

[4] Goats and Soda ‘The Ebola Outbreak’ (, 16 July 2014 – 25 November 2014) <> accessed 29 June 2020.

[5] Georgy Manaev, ‘Why Tsarist-Era Russians Rioted during Mass Epidemics – Russia Beyond’ (Russia Beyond, 19 March 2020) <> accessed 29 June 2020.

[6] ‘Cholera Revolts: A Class Struggle We May Not like: Social History: Vol 42, No 2’ <> accessed 29 June 2020.

[7] Richard L. Stefanik, ‘The Smallpox Riots of 1894 – Children in Urban America’ (Children in Urban America Project, December 1970) <> accessed 29 June 2020.

[8] Mike Lee, ‘SD Was Ground Zero for the Swine Flu – The San Diego Union-Tribune’ (The San Diego Union-Tribune, 28 April 2020 ) <> accessed 29 June 2020.

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